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Brighton's LGBT Arts and Film Festival

Raising funds for charity, celebrating LGBT art and culture...


Brighton Pride just seems to get bigger and better every year. This year saw some amazing additions, with the return of a main stage and some of the biggest artists like Alison Moyet, MKS and Paloma Faith joining the fun.

However, the build up and fundraising this year pushed boundaries with the first ever inclusion of a LGBT Arts and Film Festival. I felt proud to have hosted the launch of the film festival with the Brighton premiere of John Waters new documentary I am Divine, a late night double feature alongside ‘Female Trouble‘, which saw a packed out Duke of York’s cinema, the UK’s oldest.

A dressed up crowd ensured this inaugural event was to be one to remember, cheering in all the right places and speaking famous Divine lines with gusto normally attributed to Rocky Horror, the event raised much needed funds for Pride as a result.

The theme of Brighton Pride 2013 is ‘icons’ so how fitting that the late and great Divine would kickstart the proceedings along with Brighton’s first ever Trans Pride on the New Steine Gardens (home of the city’s AIDS monument by artist/sculptor Romany Mark Bruce). It's evident that great new things are happening to the LGBT Brighton scene; Brighton library on Jubilee Street, located in Brighton’s famous North Laines, is currently showing a beautiful and diverse collection of some of Brighton’s most talented LGBT artists and having been included in the exhibit myself (in textile and photographic form in a dress entitled Icons designed by Lena Johansen, a portrait by legendary tattooist James Robinson and a Hollywood-inspired portrait by Manel Ortega) I was naturally eager to see the exhibit in its entirety.

The exhibition has been organised by Brighton-based Thirteen Art Productions and a selection of talented artists from the LGBT community (and their supporters) have produced an astounding mix of artwork, which is showing alongside some exclusive and original posters by American pop-artist Keith Haring, donated by The Keith Haring Foundation in New York. Haring died in 1990 of AIDS.

The mission of the Keith Haring Foundation is to sustain, expand, and protect the legacy of Keith Haring, his art, and his ideals. The foundation supports not-for-profit organizations that assist children, as well as organizations involved in education, research and care related to AIDS, The private view, hosted by local comedienne Zoe Lyons, saw an enthusiastic crowd bid for the Haring posters, which sold out on the night. The whole event has so far raised over £2,000 for Pride and The Rainbow Fund, a charitable fund for the benefit of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Community in Brighton & Hove and to help maintain the Brighton & Hove AIDS Memorial

Artist and organiser, Hizze Fletcher says, ”We are all so overwhelmed by the support of The Keith Haring Foundation and the interest that has been generated around this event. It is a great opportunity to showcase the talents of the LGBT artistic community (and their supporters) and we are looking forward to an expanded Arts Festival next year as part of the new community-driven Pride organisation”

It is evident that Brighton Pride is evolving and adapting and becoming more than a day to celebrate our freedoms and remember those without them, but now also encompasses a wider celebration of LGBT arts and Film in all its unique, splendid diversity. Brighton really does rock!

Words: Stephanie Starlet

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